THE founders of a lifesaving charity have described the decision to add CPR to the school curriculum as the ‘best birthday present ever’.
Rob and Maggie Underwood have been calling for the lifesaving skill to be taught in schools for the last eight years and were given the great news on Rob’s 50th birthday on Wednesday.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds confirmed plans to add CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation – to the school curriculum, meaning thousands of pupils will learn life-saving skills.
The sessions, to be rolled out in 2020, will teach CPR, the purpose of defibrillators and basic first aid treatment.
Rob and Maggie, from Matchborough lost their daughter Charlotte and son Craig to rare heart conditions and launched Redditch Heart Safe, later known as Charlotte and Craig Saving Hearts Foundation, in memory of their two children.
The pair, who work tirelessly to get defibrillators installed across Redditch and Bromsgrove and teach lifesaving skills themselves, were then left devastated last January when son Carrick also passed away.
Rob said: “When I heard the news about CPR being taught in schools I couldn’t believe it.
“First there was a consultation, then it was debated – we didn’t think it would happen this quickly.
“We want to create a nation of lifesavers.
“With the way things have been going over the last few years, it would be nice to teach our young people to save lives rather than take them.”
The pair were nominated for The Sun’s ‘Who Cares Wins’ awards and although they didn’t win, Prime Minister Theresa May asked to speak to them, enabling Maggie to convey the importance of their campaign.
Making his announcement, Mr Hinds said when he went to university he noticed all the American students knew how to do CPR whereas he ‘didn’t have a clue’.
“Learning the basic skills of first aid and techniques like CPR will give young people the confidence to know they can step in to help someone in need and in the most extreme cases – it could potentially save a life,” he said.
Visit ccshf.org.uk for more information on the charity.